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European and Mideast editions(EDITOR’S NOTE: These are the letters that appeared in each edition of Stripes on this publication date. Click here to jump ahead to the Pacific edition letters)

Butchered-tiger story upsettingI just got to the Middle East as my first tour. I recently discovered your newspaper and began to read it. There was a disturbing article in the Dec. 24-25 issue that tells of a tiger being beheaded and skinned (“Siberian tiger found butchered in zoo cage.”)

Being away from home and away for the holidays was rough, and reading about a tiger being killed just tore me up more than anything!

I would appreciate a newspaper that did not include bad news, but since that may be too much to ask, I’d rather not pick up Stars and Stripes again.

Spc. Sumy Guzman Camp Taji, Iraq

‘Abusing’ is not ‘training’In response to why the Marine drill instructor charged with abusing recruits is being punished (“Recruits aren’t true Marines,” letter, Dec. 26): quite possibly because abusing recruits is not training recruits; because it violates the Uniform Code of Military Justice as well as the Drill Instructors’ Creed.

Parents don’t send their children to basic training to have them abused; they send them to be trained. Slapping or belittling a recruit has zero training value; it doesn’t prepare them for a future career, make them tough, or anything else. Before someone is a recruit, they’ve spent at least 17 years as a human being, and all of us have a specific set of values we hold to be true as to how human beings are to be treated.

As far as comparing the training program of the Air Force to that of the Marines: Apparently anyone can be an expert on another service’s training program without actually attending. However, in reference to the quote “Grow up, recruits — it’s the Marines, not the Coast Guard,” I feel inclined to mention Signalman 1st Class Douglas Munro, U.S. Coast Guard. Munro, the Coast Guard’s only Medal of Honor recipient, died Sept. 27, 1942, at Point Cruz, Guadalcanal, while saving the lives of nearly 500 Marines. I’d only hope the respect given to the Marines by Coast Guardsmen is reciprocal, considering 500 of their finest owe their lives to one.

Considering that the Coast Guard’s basic training is almost directly patterned after Parris Island and frequently considered to be the second most challenging boot camp, maybe the letter writer is the one who needs to re-evaluate his view of what a drill instructor’s job really entails. I could be wrong, however; after all, to put it in his words, “it’s the Marines, not the Coast Guard.”

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Phil Waldron Camp Patriot, Kuwait

Germany’s new pollution lawThe following law just came into effect at the beginning of the New Year: As part of an air pollution system that started Jan. 1, drivers in Berlin, Cologne and Hannover must display a green, yellow or red badge showing the level of pollution caused by their vehicle. It will extend to 20 more German cities in the course of a year, including Stuttgart and Munich.

I live and work in the Grafenwöhr area and, with the nature of my job, have to commute to various parts of Germany. I support and applaud efforts thwarting the progression of pollutants into the environment, especially in industrial areas, but have only one complaint: Drivers without the badge (which U.S. post vehicle registration offices are not tracking yet) face a 40-euro (about $60) fine and a point docked on their driver’s license.

For those of us who don’t have the luxury to just “lock themselves down to the post,” this poses a real problem. What is being done so both American military and civilian motorists can be in compliance with the new ordinance without sucking up a whole lot of unwarranted fines and license confiscations in the meantime?

Jonathan Taylor Grafenwöhr, Germany

Might not be KBR’s jobRegarding the Dec. 21 letter “Shower facilities deplorable”: First let me explain the LOGCAP (Logistics Civil Augmentation Program) process. The U.S. Army has various contractors responsible for the cleaning of ablations units and providing basic life support to the warfighter theaterwide. The writer is a civilian who volunteered to go into Iraq. Is he certain that it is a KBR area of responsibility?

Also LOGCAP has one of the most rigorous quality assurance/quality control programs that the Army has. I can guarantee that if KBR, Dyncorp or Fluor Corp. are not doing what is written in their statements of work, there will be a government representative talking with the mayor cell immediately. Defense Contract Management Agency is responsible for the oversight of all the contracts in theater, with the exception of some Air Force Contract Augmentation Program programs. So if KBR isn’t doing something that is written in its contract or if it hasn’t been “turned on” by the administrative contract officer, then it does not provide services under the base life support contract on the writer’s forward operating base.

None of these services are free and, contrary to all belief, no contractor is paid until it has performed the services. It can’t be KBR’s job until KBR is paid to do it! The writer should find out who is responsible for cleaning his ablations units before he starts pointing fingers.

He may believe that he is doing the contractor a disservice by writing this letter. Wrong! He is actually implying that the government agencies responsible for contractor oversight are not doing their job. He is implying that his area LOGCAP support officer, ACO and logistics management specialist are failing in doing their jobs. If the contractor is not doing its job, then it is a failure on the government oversight, not the contractors.

William D. Dewberry Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.

Readership can handle photoWith regard to the Dec. 28 letter “Photo shouldn’t be in paper”: Why shouldn’t this picture appear in Stars and Stripes? It shows us how other cultures celebrate their religious events, even if it is unpalatable to those of us in the West.

The writer should remember that the readership of Stripes is generally military-based and I guess a lot of armed forces members have seen a lot worse in real life, and not just a sheep. If the writer is so sensitive as to object to this picture, perhaps a career in the military (or a job involved in support of the military) was the wrong choice for this individual.

The writer expresses concern that “such a photo could be disturbing to children” — emphasis on could be. This is typical politically correct rubbish that caters to people who may be offended — not actually offended. If any children are genuinely disturbed by this image, are they taking time off school due to the trauma caused by the photo? Are they now seeing a counselor? I think not. Sheltering children only sets them up for shock and disappointment when they eventually leave home and join the real world.

As far as I am concerned, Stripes is here for the serving soldier first and for excess baggage and hangers-on (like myself) a distant second.

Dave Maddison Griesheim, Germany

Pacific editionMight not be KBR’s jobRegarding the Dec. 24 letter “Shower facilities deplorable”: First let me explain the LOGCAP (Logistics Civil Augmentation Program) process. The U.S. Army has various contractors responsible for the cleaning of ablations units and providing basic life support to the warfighter theaterwide. The writer is a civilian who volunteered to go into Iraq. Is he certain that it is a KBR area of responsibility?

Also LOGCAP has one of the most rigorous quality assurance/quality control programs that Army has. I can guarantee that if KBR, Dyncorp or Fluor Corp. is not doing what is written in its statement of work (SOW), there will be a government representative talking with the mayor cell immediately. Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) is responsible for the oversight of all the contracts in theater, with the exception of some Air Force Contract Augmentation Program (AFCAP) programs. So if KBR isn’t doing something that is written in its SOW or if it hasn’t been “turned on” by the administrative contract officer (ACO), then it does not provide services under the base life support contract on the writer’s forward operating base.

None of these services are free and, contrary to all belief, no contractor is paid until it has performed the services. It can’t be KBR’s job until KBR is paid to do it! The writer should find out who is responsible for cleaning his ablations units before he starts pointing fingers.

He may believe that he is doing the contractor a disservice by writing this letter. Wrong! He is actually implying that the government agencies responsible for contractor oversight are not doing their job. He is implying that his area LOGCAP support officer, ACO and logistics management specialist are failing in doing their jobs. If the contractor is not doing its job, then it is a failure on the government oversight, not the contractors.

William D. Dewberry Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.

Readership can handle photoWith regard to the Dec. 27 letter “Photo shouldn’t be in paper”: Why shouldn’t this picture appear in Stars and Stripes? It shows us how other cultures celebrate their religious events, even if it is unpalatable to those of us in the West.

The writer should remember that the readership of Stripes is generally military-based and I guess a lot of armed forces members have seen a lot worse in real life, and not just a sheep. If the writer is so sensitive as to object to this picture, perhaps a career in the military (or a job involved in support of the military) was the wrong choice for this individual.

The writer expresses concern that “such a photo could be disturbing to children” — emphasis on “could be.” This is typical politically correct rubbish that caters to people who may be offended — not actually offended. If any children are genuinely disturbed by this image are they taking time off school due to the trauma caused by the photo? Are they now seeing a counselor? I think not.

Sheltering children only sets them up for shock and disappointment when they eventually leave home and join the real world.

As far as I am concerned, Stripes is here for the serving soldier first and for excess baggage and hangers-on (like myself) a distant second.

Dave Maddison Griesheim, Germany


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